January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The following legal update contains excerpts from the article “Human Trafficking and Transportation” that will be published in Volume 86, Number 1 2019 edition of the Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy. This Journal is an international publication of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals.

Aviation is one of “primary modes of transportation utilized by traffickers.” What Can Cabin Crew Do About It? Martin Maurino at p. 9, https://www.wats-event.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Maurino-Trafficking.pdf (last visited January 11, 2019). While this may not seem plausible, consider that in the United States alone there are 19,346 U.S. airports with 2,600,000 + passengers flying every day in and out of those airports Federal Aviation Administration, https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/by_the_numbers/ (last visited January 11, 2019) and those statistics increase exponentially when international airports and air traffic are considered. International Air Traffic Statistics can be purchased from IATA in the “WATS 2018” report, available at the following link for US$650, https://www.iata.org/publications/store/Pages/world-air-transport-statistics.aspx (last visited January 11, 2019). To mention just one example, in 2017, a fast-thinking flight attendant acted swiftly and intelligently to help rescue a girl from human trafficking.

The United Nations is working with member countries to curtail human trafficking through two (2) main works of legislation.

  1. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was adopted by the General Assembly on November 15, 2000 and entered into force on September 29, 2003 (the “Convention”). The Convention:

“represents a major step forward in the fight against transnational organized crime and signifies the recognition by Member States of the seriousness of the problems posed by it, as well as the need to foster and enhance close international cooperation in order to tackle those problems. States that ratify this instrument commit themselves to taking a series of measures against transnational organized crime, including the creation of domestic criminal offences (participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption and obstruction of justice); the adoption of new and sweeping frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation; and the promotion of training and technical assistance for building or upgrading the necessary capacity of national authorities.”

UNODC, https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro/UNTOC.html (last visited January 12, 2019).

  1. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, which supplements the Convention, was entered into force on December 25, 2003 (the “Protocol”). The Protocol is intended to:

“facilitate convergence in national approaches with regard to the establishment of domestic criminal offences that would support efficient international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights.”


In addition, The United Nations has also set up the “United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking” (“Fund”) which has $4.2 million in contributions, as of April 2018. UNODC, http://www.unodc.org/unodc/human-trafficking-fund.html (last visited January 12, 2019). This Fund supports individuals through over 3,000 NGO partners who receive grants from the Fund, and also provides access to justice, legal advice and representation.